Self-Destructive Pleasures, Privacy, and More

Radio Q&A: 13 May 2012

I answered questions on self-destructive pleasures, privacy in a high-tech society, pushy fundraising, browsing locally then buying online, and more for Philosophy in Action Radio on 13 May 2012. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers was my co-host. Listen to or download the podcast below.

Remember, Philosophy in Action Radio is available to anyone, free of charge. That's because our goal is to spread rational principles for real life far and wide, as we do every week to thousands of listeners. We love doing that, but each episode requires our time, effort, and money. So if you enjoy and value our work, please contribute to our tip jar. We suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. You can send your contribution via Dwolla, PayPal, or US Mail.

My News of the Week: I'm experimenting with moving the webcast to an audio-only stream on BlogTalkRadio, as well as experimenting with my new call-in radio show on Wednesday evening. Soon, ATLOSCon 2012!

Listen Now

  • Duration: 1:00:44

Download the Episode

To save the file to your computer, right-click and save the link:
You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action's Podcast RSS Feed:

Share This Episode


Segments: 13 May 2012


Question 1: Self-Destructive Pleasures (3:58)

Question: It is wrong to pursue self-destructive pleasures? Suppose that you know that drinking to excess is not good for your mind or body, but you want to enjoy the oblivion of drunkenness. Or perhaps you know that sleeping with your ex-girlfriend is a very bad idea, but you want the pleasure of sex with a warm body. Is it wrong to pursue these pleasures, if you're willing to accept their destructive consequences?

Answer, In Brief: To live morally means to pursue your life and your values with gusto, not jump into the gutter. To yearn for self-destructive pleasures indicates psychological problems in need of fixing.

Tags: Ethics, Food, Hedonism, Pleasure, Sex

Listen or Download

Relevant Links

Comments


Question 2: Privacy in a High-Tech Society (11:53)

Question: Do you have the right to privacy with respect to information that I can gather about you from observation of you while I'm on my own property? For instance, if I have technology that allows me to gather photons or sound waves that you emit from your property while I'm sitting on my property next door, can I post that information on YouTube or Facebook? For example, imagine that I have an infrared video of your activities emitted through your bedroom wall or the audio of your personal phone conversation that can be detected by sensitive microphones from 100 yards away. Have I violated your rights by gathering and publicizing information you've chosen to allow to be broadcast to anyone who can detect it with the right equipment?

Answer, In Brief: Privacy is a value, and the law ought to recognize a fact-based distinction between private and public activities. The line should likely be drawn at what's perceptible by the unaided senses or perceptible with ordinary technology.

Tags: Law, Privacy, Rights, Technology

Listen or Download

Comments


Question 3: Pushy Fundraising (32:56)

Question: How should I respond to the constant demands to contribute to fundraisers from my child's school? I am barraged with "requests" for contributions to school fundraisers. This week, for example, each student in the band is asked to put together a "buddy bag" with sweets (against my views), a toy (more plastic junk to fill the landfills), and a gift (I can't afford that). Every week, there's another fundraiser, for which parents are asked to spend their money on things they don't value or aren't a fair value. Should I refuse these requests – and if so, how should I do so?

Answer, In Brief: Be a good role model for your kids: recognize that you're not obliged to contribute, establish your own standards for contribution, and be firm and clear in communicating what you're willing to do (or not) to others.

Tags: Charity, Communication, Education, Ethics, Parenting

Listen or Download

Comments


Question 4: Browsing Locally Then Buying Online (37:59)

Question: Is it wrong to browse in a local store but then buy online? Suppose that you shop for an item in a brick-and-mortar store, taking advantage of the opportunity to browse and get recommendations from staff, but then make your purchases at a discounted online retailer – for example, browsing through a local bookstore but then buying from Amazon at a lower price. Is that wrong or unfair?

Answer, In Brief: It's not wrong to buy online after browsing in a local store, provided that it's done honestly – just as it's not wrong to check out reviews online, but then buy in a local store. Be a self-interested consumer!

Tags: Business, Competition, Ethics, Honesty, Internet

Listen or Download

Relevant Links

Comments


Rapid Fire Questions (46:35)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. The questions were:
  • What should you do when you suspect that friends or acquaintances are depending on your opinion in second-handed ways?
  • Why would an egoist want to live in society?
  • What are some resources to communicate with tact and being more clear?
  • Is it wrong to "throw away your vote" on a candidate without any hope of being elected?
  • If the government didn't own the roads, who would set and enforce traffic laws?

Listen or Download

Comments


Conclusion (59:40)

Thank you for joining us for this episode of Philosophy in Action Radio! If you enjoyed this episode, please contribute to contribute to our tip jar.


Support Philosophy in Action

Philosophy in Action Radio – the live show and the podcast – is available to anyone, free of charge. That's because our goal is to spread rational principles for real life far and wide, as we do every week to thousands of listeners. We love producing every episode, but each requires requires the investment of our time, effort, and money. So if you enjoy and value our work, please contribute to our tip jar. We suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated.

You can contribute online via Dwolla or PayPal. Or you can send a check or money order via the US Mail, including with your bank's bill pay service. You can easily create recurring contributions with any of those methods of payment. If you want to pay by some other method, choose "Other" below and explain in the comments. I recommend using Dwolla: it's a payment system with lower fees, stronger security, and better interface design than PayPal. A Dwolla account is free and easy to create.

Name:
Email:
Tip Amount:
Payment Method:
Payment recurrence:
Comments/Questions:
I'd love to hear what work of mine inspired your generosity in these comments. I want to know what my fans enjoy most, so that I can do that more!
 

Once you submit this form, you'll be automatically redirected to a page for payment. If you have any questions or further comments, please email me at diana@philosophyinaction.com.

Thank you for contributing to Philosophy in Action! You make our work possible every week, and we're so grateful for that!

If you enjoy Philosophy in Action, please help us spread the word about it! Tell your friends about upcoming broadcasts by forwarding our newsletter. Link to episodes or segments from our topics archive. Share our blog posts, podcasts, and events on Facebook and Twitter. Rate and review the podcast in iTunes (M4A and MP3). We appreciate any and all of that!


About Philosophy in Action

I'm Dr. Diana Hsieh. I'm a philosopher specializing in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, is available for purchase in paperback, as well as for Kindle and Nook. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck."

My radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on Sunday mornings and most Thursday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Thursday evenings, I interview an expert guest or chat about a topic of interest.

If you join us for the live broadcasts, you can ask follow-up questions and make comments in the text-based chat. Otherwise, you can listen to the podcast by subscribing to our Podcast RSS Feed. You can also peruse the podcast archive, where episodes and questions are sorted by date and by topic.

For regular commentary, announcement, and humor, read my blog NoodleFood and subscribe to its Blog RSS Feed. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter and connect on social media too.

I can be reached via e-mail to diana@philosophyinaction.com.

Philosophy in Action's NewsletterPhilosophy in Action's Facebook PagePhilosophy in Action's Twitter StreamPhilosophy in Action's RSS FeedsPhilosophy in Action's Calendar